Rapha honours Hampsten's iconic Giro win with Gavia Collection
New clothing range has been produced for the harshest conditions, reminiscent of the American's iconic ride on the snowy peak of one of Italy's toughest mountain passes
by Toby Martin
During the 1988 Giro d'Italia, a move on the descent of the Passo di Gavia saw American Andrew Hampsten move into the pink jersey. That move would prove decisive in his overall victory just a few days later.
Getting to the descent had not been easy. Snow had battered the rider as he snaked his way up the mountain in what has easily become one of the most iconic scenes in the Giro's history.
Now, 30 years on, Rapha has chosen to honour the American's noble efforts with the limited edition Gavia collection – a series of garments designed for the harshest weather conditions in the colours of Hampsten's 7-Eleven jacket.
Highlights of the range include the Gavia Race Cape, a limited edition version of the Pro Team Race Cape with a waterproof and breathable outer shell. We're into the block colour look, even with the stylised– and reflective – sponsor logo adorning the chest of the garment. Other nice features include a soft neoprene collar and zip cuffs to maintain the tailored fit. There's also a small zipped front pocket adorned with an embroidered 'Andy Hampsten' logo styled in the form of the 7-Eleven logo – a nice touch.
The Gavia Neoprene Gloves are a reference to those worn by Hampsten on his descent into Bormio, no-doubt invaluable in maintaining control in the aggressive conditions. The modern version features a silicone grip that adorns the entire palm – perfectly grippy in the wettest conditions – and there are also some subtle decals that mean the gloves are in keeping with the rest of the collection, yet won't look out of place when worn with the rest of your cycling wardrobe. The neoprene varies in thickness between the back and front of the glove – it's thicker where it's more exposed to the elements – and fits comfortably when held to handlebar, good news for long ride comfort.
One of our favourite designs is the Gavia Base Layer thanks to its all over newspaper print. Before the advent of modern fabrics and construction methods, road racers would take newspapers at the top of grand tour climbs to stuff inside their jersey and insulate their front while descending in the biting cold. While not practiced today to the same degree, the newspaper print reminds us that sometimes low-tech is the best tech. The base layer features bonded seams with a breathable synthetic make-up and stretch side panels for a close fit.
The Gavia Collection also includes a short sleeve jersey, winter hat, bib tights and socks. For more information on the pieces featured here and the rest of the Gavia Collection head to Rapha. The 101st running of the Giro d'Italia kicks off on Friday in Jerusalem, with this years Cima Coppi – the Colle delle Finestre – surely producing some dramatic imagery of it's own. Will we see snow as Hampsten did 30 years ago? Only time will tell.